Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Edgewater Gallery, Wintery Vermont and a Lost Camera




I am just back from my trip up to Vermont for the exhibition at Edgewater Gallery in Middlebury. Took a whole lot of photos of my paintings in the gallery and planned to give you a personal guided tour similar to the post earlier this month on my current show at JLP Gallery in Baltimore. Then the Art Devil (a mythological beast devoted to derailing the plans of artists who I am coming closer to believing in all the time) took my camera.

Fortunately I do have a few pictures I took on my phone. Above is the waterfall in the heart of Middlebury. The water crashes over an 18 foot ledge and makes a fabulous roar when you walk into the Edgewater Gallery. The gallery is on the far shore in this photo, just to the right of the tallest brick buildings in the center. And in the gallery right next to my paintings is a big picture window overlooking the falls. It's an amazing space to show paintings. Edgewater by the way has only been open for a year in a handsomely remodeled space that was occupied for 30 years by the Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center. It's more than worth a visit.

My old friend Bob Wetmore from Cub Scouts in my hometown of Webster, New York came up to Middlebury for the show from Waterbury, CT where he's an orthopedic surgeon (he no longer sports the classic yellow Cub Scout neckerchief, but I'll suggest he start wearing one again to relax his patients before surgery). After the reception we drove into the mountains to go skiing.

My dad introduced me to skiing in Western New York and took me regularly on weekends during the last three years of his life. It's one of my fondest memories, partly for the time he chose to spend with me and partly for the chance to soak up the amazing winter landscapes as I rode the ski lifts. To this day those boyhood ski trips loom in a lot of my paintings. I stopped skiing once I left high school, but it always crept back into my life in daydreams and very often in the dreams I had while asleep.

Here's the view from the top of Okemo Mountain in south central Vermont. The winds unfortunately were very strong the day we skied. But despite the cold, it was great to see the surreal forms the snow sculpts on the evergreen branches.






And here below is an oil of mine, North Star, that I had painted nearly a decade ago strictly from memory of just such snow encrusted pines.


Ironically, one other memory I used to come up with North Star was from my old friend Bob Wetmore's neighborhood. Growing up there were years when Bob's house served almost as my second home. Near it was a little stream known as Shipbuilders Creek that emptied out into Lake Ontario. The image of a small stream emptying its flow into the great sea intrigues me. And I consciously thought of how Wetmore's stream might have looked in January as I did the studies for this painting.

Here's the good doctor himself after surviving a blowy and cloudy day of skiing with me. We were both a tad stiff after a day on the trails.




Vermont itself is spectacular in winter. I have a strong feeling it's going to be a destination for one of my New England painting excursions this summer. I did get some good vine charcoal drawings done while I was up there and will post some of that new work just as soon as I rustle up another camera. Below is a shot I took of the mountains just south of Manchester, VT on my way back to the airport.




Lastly Bob has been holding onto a T shirt he bought for me several years ago when the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston held its last big Edward Hopper exhibition. Our ski trip gave him the opportunity to finally present this hallowed gift to me. This morning as my sore body stumbled to the gym for Body Flow class, I modeled what the well-dressed gym rat should be wearing this season.



(photo credit: this was taken by either Ansel Adams or my friend Lora Gann, I can't remember which).


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